Europe: Ukraine

About Ukraine

Richly endowed in natural resources, Ukraine has been fought over and subjugated for centuries; its 20th-century struggle for liberty is not yet complete. A short-lived independence from Russia (1917-1920) was followed by brutal Soviet rule that engineered two artificial famines (1921-22 and 1932-33) in which over 8 million died, and World War II, in which German and Soviet armies were responsible for some 7 million more deaths. Although independence was attained in 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR, true freedom remains elusive as many of the former Soviet elite remain entrenched, stalling efforts at economic reform, privatization, and civic liberties.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Kiev (Kyyiv)
Population: 48,760,474 (July 2001 est.)
Percent below poverty: 50% (1999 est.)
Language: Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian
Date of independence: 24 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
Form of government: republic
Title of Leader: President
Natural Resources: iron ore, coal, manganese, natural gas, oil, salt, sulfur, graphite, titanium, magnesium, kaolin, nickel, mercury, timber, arable land
Environmental Issues: inadequate supplies of potable water; air and water pollution; deforestation; radiation contamination in the northeast from 1986 accident at Chornobyl' Nuclear Power Plant
Agricultural Products: grain, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, vegetables; beef, milk
Imports: energy, machinery and parts, transportation equipment, chemicals
Exports: ferrous and nonferrous metals, fuel and petroleum products, machinery and transport equipment, food products
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: Russia 42%, Europe 29%, US 3% (2000 est.)
EXPORTS: Russia 24%, Europe 30%, US 5% (2000 est.)


Ukraine Headlines

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